Being away from home can make it really difficult to stay on track with your diet and fitness goals. Luckily, Scott and I have come up with some really great practical tips on how to stay healthy at work.
I definitely think the key is preparation. And no, I don’t mean you have to meal prep for hours on Sunday, but you do have to know your tendencies and be prepared for any situation that might come up.
Some of these “situations” might include: you forgot to pack snacks, you didn’t pack enough snacks, you don’t want to eat what you packed, your boss bought you lunch, you always get free food at work, you really want some m&ms, you need a full carb Rockstar Energy Drink, etc.
Tips for staying healthy at work:
Purchase a LARGE lunch box. This is a really cool Meal Prep Lunch Bag from Amazon. It is big enough to fit several Meal Prep Containers and a shaker bottle. It is insulated and has several compartments to help keep food separate. Those are just basic things you should look for in a lunch box. You need to make sure it will fit ALL your food and keep it fresh.
Bring a refillable water bottle. I knew a teacher who told me that whenever her students seemed tired in class, she would recommend they go get some water.
Why? Because fatigue is a sign of dehydration. But aside from that, drinking a lot of water means you probably won’t be drinking as many (or any) high calorie drinks.
Recommended read: how to drink more water
Plan snacks you enjoy. Focus on healthy foods that you can look forward to. Scott wasn’t excited about eating carrots until he started packing hummus to dip it in. My favorite snack of the day is my Chocolate Sea Salt RX Bar. You are more likely to stick to eating healthy if you enjoy the foods you get to eat.
Pack protein. Protein keeps you full. If you’re full, you are less likely to cave and grab an unhealthy snack from the vending machines. Make sure your packed lunch has at least 20 grams of protein.
Also, try to pack 1 or more snacks with at least 10 grams of protein. Those RX bars I mentioned have 12 grams protein. During Scott’s crazy long work days, he packs an RX Bar and some protein powder to mix at work. Protein is key.
Meal Prep. You don’t have to spend an entire day doing this. You can keep it simple. Make double your dinner and save half in a meal prep container for lunch the next day. Simple and doesn’t take much extra time.
I like to make a big batch of these breakfast burritos every few weeks for Scott and keep them in the freezer til he needs them. They come in handy for a quick & healthy breakfast when you’re busy.
Plan your day in advance. We love tracking our meals on the free My Fitness Pal app. Usually, we plan our day out completely the night before so that we’re not left wondering what we should eat when we’re starving.
Have Fast Food Go-Tos. Check out our healthy fast food list for ideas. While we can agree that fast food restaurants don’t have a ton of healthy options, they do have some.
Be prepared and know which items from McDonalds or Chick-fil-a, etc are acceptable for your diet. (Here’s a tip: because of the add-ons & dressings, salad isn’t always the best choice.) Now you have no excuse if you forgot to pack your lunch or just aren’t in the mood for what you brought.
Have your “excuse” thought up in advance. It’s inevitable. People like you. At some point, someone WILL offer you food. Maybe they made it, maybe they ordered too much food from Taco Bell, whatever. It’s gonna happen. Know what your response will be in advance so you aren’t caught off guard.
I like to say something like “oh thanks, that looks really good, but I’m pretty full right now.” You could also just tell them that you have goals you’re focusing on, etc.
Watch your portion size. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Scott works in sales. If they meet certain goals, their boss might order pizza for everyone or some other food. If you don’t want to pass on the pizza, don’t. Watch your portion size instead.